The Wild Man of the Woods

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way. Some See Nature all Ridicule & Deformity... & Some Scarce see Nature at all. But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself. As a man is, So he Sees. As the Eye is formed, such are its Powers. You certainly Mistake, when you say that the Visions of Fancy are not to be found in This World. To Me This World is all One continued Vision of Fancy or Imagination... William Blake, 1799

Fair things pass by, unheeded as the threshold brook... John Keats, 1818

You see but you do not observe... Sherlock Holmes, 1892

You don't know what you've got till it's gone... Joni Mitchell, 1970

Our trees; our local woods and our threshold brooks, our parks and our ponds, our birds and our beetles need all the friends they can get! How do you put across the idea of caring for the environment without talking down to people? The Wild Man of the Woods is probably the widest travelled Green Man in Britain! The show explores our changing relationship with nature and the landscape through songs, stories and humour - ancient and modern. The Wild Man of the Woods been promoting natural history and local distinctiveness with considerable passion from Sunderland to Torquay, from Sherwood Forest to the inner city since 1991! Organisers of fairs and celebrations, at nature reserves and schools, museums and libraries have given this Green Man a definite thumbs up!
photo from shirley & brian davis

The Wild Man of the Wood's Repetoire

I sometimes tell longer stories which take 30 minutes or more, but I often adopt a modular approach covering a range of subjects in a single show. I have been doing this for a long time now, so I have lots of material!

You can choose from the list below if you like and it is also a good idea to talk to me about it.

All my shows contain songs and music. The Wild Man of the Woods is mostly recommended for audiences 7-11 years old and their families. I can do special performances for younger children, but you must let me know about this in advance and talk to me about it.

The Wild Man of the Woods plays whistles flutes, bagpipe and bodhrĂ n.

Who is the Green Man? Our Green Man, whom we know today is a bit of a mystery, with many known roots and precedents. I do not subscribe to the simple view that the Green Man is a known ancient deity, as there is no historical or archaeological evidence for this. I am a professional performer and the Wild Man of the Woods is not prejudiced for or against any religious tradition.

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Some Longer Stories

photo by MWP courtesy of Groundwork Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford

  • Little Jacky Robinson Little Jacky Robinson sets out to try to find which of the trees is may be found in the middle of the middle of the middle of the forest and finds out about them all as he goes on his way. Great for younger audiences.

  • The Adventure of the 3rd Grandma Nicola Brown discovers that she has a third grandma, who introduces her to the Green Man. This is about looking after our local green spaces.

  • Good King Henry Separated from his hunting party, the King chases a white doe into a secret glade and finds himself in the presence of Woodland Royalty. My variation on a number of folk tales.

  • The Woodsman's Ring Once a hero, the woodsman leads a peaceful life as a guide for noble visitors to the forest. Then he loses his ring and this leads him into an adventure featuring tree lore and magic in a changing world.

  • The Trees were Talking Danny is a boy who behaves badly when he is in the woods, so the trees decide to teach him a lesson. A funny but moral tale.

  • Bel the Bad (Longer and better for an older audience.) Bel is a badly behaved neolithic boy growing up as a farm boy. He runs away to live with a tribe of hunter gatherers and is very happy until a terrifying vision of the (our) future sends him back to his people

  • Meeting a Wild Man The boy chases his pig out into the wild woods and meets a wild hunter in a forest glade.

Subject Modules

photo by grant auton

These may be added together in various combinations during the course of a session or a day.

  • Who is the Green Man? History, mystery, art and wildness.

  • History of the British Landscape - with appropriate emphasis.

  • The prehistoric wild wood.

  • The wild woods of the Middle Ages and later times.

  • Local history and place names, legends and customs - local information always gratefully received!

  • Seasonal Celebrations of various kinds

  • Woodland as a habitat.

  • Trees: natural history and history, uses and folklore.

  • Tree Dressing: I facilitate activities and celebrations

  • Woodland Animals: natural history, history and folklore.

  • The food chain and the interconnectedness of all living things.

  • Being green means thinking about the world of the future - education for sustainable development.